Last-place Utah fire head coach Rodriguez


The Utah Royals has fired Amy Rodriguez halfway through her first season as head coach, the team announced on Sunday. Utah is in last place in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) a week ahead of the summer Olympics break

Newly appointed assistant coach Jimmy Coenraets will serve as the team’s interim head coach. Royals goalkeeper coach Maryse Bard-Martel was also fired.

Royals team president Michelle Hyncik, who played with Rodriguez in high school and hired her for the job, “will begin transitioning to a new opportunity” in a legal role with the Blitzer Family Office.

Real Salt Lake president John Kimball will oversee business operations for the Royals while the organization, which shares ownership with MLS’ Real Salt Lake, looks for a new Royals president.

“This expansion season has been full of lessons and learnings, and we are now focused on reorganizing leadership efforts on and off the pitch,” Kimball said in a statement. “We are grateful and appreciative of Amy, Michelle and Maryse and their efforts in helping re-introduce the Royals to Utah’s incredible fans and the international soccer community.

“We believe women’s sports are a vital part of Utah’s culture. Our club and ownership group are committed to delivering a product our fans will be proud of. While we have faced adversity this season, we are focused on building a team off and on the field that can compete at the highest levels for years to come.”

Rodriguez was hired as the first coach of the Royals’ new era; Utah returned to the NWSL as an expansion team this season after initially folding at the end of 2020. The job was Rodriguez’s first as a head coach after a brief stint as an assistant at the University of Southern California, her alma mater.

She promised to put together a hard-working team that would fight for every result, but the Royals have conceded a league-worst 27 goals as of the completion of Saturday’s NWSL games, scoring only seven times in 15 matches.

Rodriguez played for the first iteration of the Royals from 2018-2020, near the end of a career that included two NWSL Championships with FC Kansas City and a 2015 World Cup title with the United States. She scored 39 goals in the NWSL.

Coenraets joined the Royals’ staff in early June.

Utah has the youngest roster in the NWSL. The Royals are coming off arguably their best performance of the season, a scoreless draw at home against the Portland Thorns. A week earlier, Utah lost 6-0 to the unbeaten Orlando Pride, which tied the NWSL record for the most lopsided margin of victory.

Utah travels to face Seattle Reign FC on July 7 in the team’s final game before the six-week break from the regular season.



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